Story of St. Pete Walmart employee's generosity spreads kindness online

An act of kindness at a St. Petersburg Walmart is spreading around social media at time when we could all use something to smile about.

When a customer didn't have enough money to pay for her groceries, another customer stepped up. But the cashier had already taken care of it. 

Lines to get inside stores, items out of stock and 6-foot distancing. It can add stress to any shopping trip right now.

"I came to Walmart, I needed some necessities," said Kim McNinch of Gulfport.

Thursday, McNinch was in line at the Walmart on 34th Street South in St. Petersburg.  She noticed that the woman in front of her didn't have enough money to pay for her groceries.

"We all could use a little help," McNinch said. "So I offered to pay the amount that was stilled owed."

Later, she asked the cashier, Tatyana Holmes, how much extra she owed.

"And, she said, 'no, don't worry about it, I paid for it.'  I said, 'oh no, no, at least let's split it,'" McNinch recalled.

"I'm just like, 'no, no, no, it's okay, I got it,'" said Holmes. "So, I just put in the $5 and I used a dollar in quarters out of my own pocket."

Holmes told McNinch she's working while many others are not and just wants to help whenever and wherever she can.

"I got very emotional," McNinch said. "The fact that someone not only wanted to help the person in front of me but also me from having to pay for her. She was really taking care of two people."

McNinch asked permission to post Holmes' photo and the story on Facebook, typing, "Once again we are to be reminded that there are good people out there that are lucky enough to still have a job and are sharing our struggles without judgment."

It was shared almost a thousand times in one day.

"A story like this really needed to be out there," McNinch said. "Without people like Tatyana, we'd have nowhere to shop, we'd have no food on our tables."

"That's something I was always taught, to always help others. That's something I was raised to do," Holmes said. "I know it eats me alive that I see people struggling and I don't want them to feel that way."

You never know what battle someone else is fighting, whether it's another driver, a nurse, a grocery store worker or a stranger in line. When in doubt, these women say to be kind. 

"If I could hug you, I would. But, we can't get too close," McNinch laughed, citing social distancing guidelines.

"Money is money," Holme said. "I'm not materialistic  The kids or elderly people or anybody who needs help, I'm going to help out."

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